USask statement on vaccines - Fall 2021

The University of Saskatchewan (USask) continues to develop plans for the Fall 2021 term based on the latest available COVID-19 information in Saskatchewan, consultation with Public Health expertise, and the progress of provincial vaccination efforts.

It is USask’s expectation that all students, staff, and faculty take every precaution available to protect the health and safety of all members of our campuses and the communities we live in, including being vaccinated before coming onto our campuses in the fall.

Vaccination is an essential tool in ensuring our safe return to campus. Based on numbers reported by the province, indications are that most of the campus community will be vaccinated by the fall term. USask strongly urges everyone to get vaccinated when eligible, and receive all required booster shots, when necessary.

At this time, public health authorities across Canada are not making vaccination mandatory, and USask is not planning to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for students, faculty, staff, and others attending our campuses for September 2021. 

While the safety of our students, faculty and staff is of utmost importance, as a public institution there are significant challenges for USask to make vaccination mandatory when public health authorities—whose fundamental job is public health and safety—are not making vaccination mandatory. USask has been actively engaged in this national dialogue for many months and will continue to review and consider all perspectives on pandemic safety and vaccination policies, including employment laws, labour (union) laws, privacy legislation, human rights, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and ethical considerations.

With USask’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) taking a prominent national role during the pandemic, the university’s positive stance on the science and importance of vaccinations for addressing COVID-19 is well documented. A recent World Health Organization (WHO) policy brief led by national and international scholars suggested that governments should continue to encourage voluntary vaccination. Additionally, the brief noted the importance of demonstrating the benefit and safety of vaccines for increased uptake before moving to stricter regulatory measures.